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Wiltshire Folk Arts

The Big Top Concerts

The Big TopWelcome to the Big Top Concert series

As always we have an exciting series of concerts for you. This year, after numerous requests we are bringing you some great top Folk artists to this fabulous venue. This is a slight change away from the themed concerts of the last 3 years but don't worry, we will still have one on the Monday.

What is really great about the Big Top is that even though it will easily seat 500 people it still feels intimate. We try to pay particular attention to the atmosphere that is created in this venue and we spend a lot on the PA, Lights and stage setting. Hopefully, you will notice improvements this year.

Ticketing is, as always, available in two streams. We put up for sale, in advance, 200 tickets at £12 for just the concert only and the remainder of the venue is filled with Season Ticket holders (including relevant evening and day tickets). This allows up to 300 season ticket holders to gain access to these concerts which is twice the number than any of our other concert venues at the festival.

Some artists appearing in the Big Top Concerts will also be performing in other venues over the weekend or that day.

So, if you want to see some fabulous performances in a larger space then this is the place to get to over the weekend

Tickets are individually priced at just £12 each. (200 available).
Festival Season, Day and Evening ticket holders have free entry (space permitting).

Big Top Concerts: Nancy Kerr & James Fagan and Chris Sherburn, Denny Bartley & Emily Sanders

Saturday, 27th May
6:30pm

Every so often the Chippenham Folk Festival has the opportunity of putting together a concert so stunning that it takes your breath away. This year we have two dream concerts for the discerning aficionado of powerful, committed and beautiful folk music. Four of our best and most influential groups of the last 30 years on one stage in two evening concerts.

Nancy Kerr & James Fagan and Chris Sherburn & Denny Bartley with Emily Sanders.

It is always a joy to welcome the quality performers Nancy and James to the festival. One of the most respected and established duos of the folk scene they play a scintillating mix of traditional and contemporary music. They are renowned for their wonderful instrumentals, clear and captivating solo voices and strong harmony singing. Consistently brilliant live performance and an instant rapport with audiences, they approach their music with charm, energy and infectious smiles.

The alchemical pairing of Chris and Denny joined by the wonderful Emily. The elements of guitar, anglo concertina, violin and vocals are transmuted into a wonderful glow. Known for their soul stirring songs, exquisite harmonies, highest quality of musicianship, exhilarating tunes and a love of the craic, they ensure that no two concerts are ever the same. Enjoying their performances almost as much as their audiences, this masterful and inspired trio are definitively at the top of their game.

Big Top Concerts: Home Service - Coope Boyes & Simpson

Sunday, 28th May
6:30pm

Home Service and Coope Boyes & Simpson

Home Service is considered by many the greatest ever folk-rock ensemble. With the new front man, John Kirkpatrick it has evolved into a mighty eight piece while retaining the essential character. There is simply nothing remotely comparable to Home Service in full flow - it is a truly glorious, all-embracing noise.

And from the other end of the folk spectrum, they are joined by the finest 'a capella' trio of matched male voices - Coope, Boyes and Simpson are marking their farewell to touring at their sharp and resonant best. Sensational harmony voices with decades of fabulous material on the tips of their tongues.

Big Top Concerts: In Like a Dragon

Monday, 29th May
6:30pm

In Like a Dragon

Into our sleepy Wiltshire town of Chippenham there enters the Red Dragon.
Over the past 6 years we have introduced themed concerts into our Big Top venue on Island Park and have covered subjects as varied as Scotland, Sea Shanties, Mining, Young Folk, emigration to Ireland, choirs and much more.
Now it's the turn of the Welsh!
Folk music has previously been a relatively quiet affair in Wales. There has been plenty of it in Wales but it was not promoted widely outside the country but that has all changed. With a drive towards independence of their culture and a surprisingly speedy growth interest in the Welsh language this small, singing nation is coming in like wild fire!
With young super-group CALAN heading up the cast you will be transported to the hills, valleys and music of the country.
An extract from Trac, Wales's Folk Development organisation, explains it well. "We have... a shared belief in the unique qualities of traditional cultures, an awareness of their continuing relevance to the present, and a passion for sharing what music traditions have to offer"
In this concert we will present some of the music, the traditions, the dance, the modern and the beautiful. A unique opportunity to see a bit of everything of what Wales can offer.
Performers include Calan, Dawnswyr Tipyn o Bopeth traditional dancers, Gareth Wilkins and the wonderful Huw Williams.

Tickets are individually priced at just £12 each. (200 available).
Festival Season, Day and Evening ticket holders have free entry (space permitting).

The Essential Ticket Purchasing Guide

Online Tickets

Online Tickets are now closed, but you can still buy your tickets at the Festival Box Office when you arrive in Chippenham.

Festival Box Office opens on Friday at 9:30am and is located just off the High Street, on Island Park (SN15 3EY) near Wilkinson. Tickets can also be purchased via the Chippenham Information and Visitor Centre at the Town Hall in the High Street.